Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jeudi: Root Work

Our world is full of stress.  Diagnosis of anxiety disorders is at an all time high, or so it would seem, and there’s a pill for everything.  Please don’t imagine that I’m being sarcastic when I say this.  I have a sometimes crippling social anxiety disorder that requires the occasional Xanax just to get my butt out the door and into an unfamiliar environment.

But you can’t take a pill every day – or I can’t anyway.  What about those times when you’re just nervous for no good reason, or anxious about something that really shouldn’t be so worrisome?  What about those times when your personal evolution isn’t in sync with that of the high tech, fast paced, noisy dang world around you?  Hey, wait; that’s just about every day for me…

Thankfully, old wives, Pow-Wows, gypsies and root doctors had little remedies to chase away the little worries long before moderns tagged them as “disorders.”  Here’s one I like very much; a tisane that is easy to collect ingredients for (no occult shop necessary), quick to make, functional to keep and it works. 

Simply take equal parts of dried marjoram, rosemary, sage and thyme.  Mix these well and store in an air-tight container away from light as you would with any herb.  When you feel the need for a moment to yourself to calm down and refocus, put the kettle on the boil or the cup in the microwave. 

Then put about a generous teaspoon per cup of your calming herb mixture in whatever you use for lose tea.  Personally, I’m just as happy to wrap the herbs in a piece of muslin tied with a string as I am to use a fancy tea ball.  Pour boiling water over the herbs and allow them to steep to desired strength.  I find that adding a little sprig of mint to the herb mixture makes it taste even better.

Now, here’s the part that is hard for a lot of us given busy lifestyles and schedules.  Find a quiet place where you can sit in relative silence – no television, computer, phone, radio, etc. – while you enjoy your calm in a cup at a leisurely pace.  Gulping this down over the sink won’t have the same relaxing effect that enjoying it while sitting down to pet your dog will.  It will help, but it won’t work.

But Pauline, you say, I’m in my office ten hours a day.  Where ever can I find a moment to relax away from distractions?  Two words: bathroom stall.  It sounds crazy but seriously.  When I was in upper management and had a corner office with a door I still went to the ladies’ room for this ritual.  Mostly because I knew it was the only place people would respect my privacy.  Even outside on the park bench they would find me, but in the bathroom they’d give me five glorious minutes of sweet, sweet peace.  To each their own, of course, but I’ve been around the block a time or two and sharing experience never hurts, or so it seems.

If you are having trouble sleeping for any reason, but especially due to anxiety, substitute chamomile (sorry, trip to the health food store probably required here) for the marjoram.  If your anxiety is getting in the way of daily life, it’s time to consult your doctor and collaborate on a plan.  You might ask him or her about St. John’s wort, which can be substituted in this recipe for the sage to increase its strength.

As with anything you eat, drink or apply, stop using this tisane if you have deleterious effects and consult your physician if you have conditions such as pregnancy, nursing, heart trouble etc. that might warrant special caution.  A votre santé ~

Header: Morning by Catherine Wiley via American Gallery


Timmy! said...

Wait, I'm supposed to consult my physician if I have heart trouble, Pauline? Now you're talking crazy talk!

Pauline said...

I know; just weird. Safety first, mes amis.